PCMax Unwanted Application
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is PCMax?
PCMax is a deceptive application that, according to developers, helps to optimize the system and increase Internet performance. Judging on appearance alone, PCMax may seem legitimate and useful, however, this app is categorized as a potentially unwanted program (PUP). Furthermore it typically infiltrates systems without permission.
PCMax supposedly provides functionality that allows users to perform a full system scan - they are prompted with many potential infections/threats. This app then encourages users to immediately eliminate them. Furthermore, the 'free version' of PCMax is said to be incapable of this, and so users are encouraged purchase the 'full version'.
Be aware, however, that PCMax is designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users. The entire list of infections/threats is false - your computer is likely to be perfectly optimized and virus-free. The list often scares and tricks users into purchasing the full version - developers generate revenue by abusing their trust.
The full version gives no value - it simply cleans the list and nothing more. It does not protect against any infections. Therefore, never pay for the full version. We strongly advise you to uninstall the PCMax PUP immediately. As mentioned above, PCMax typically infiltrates systems without consent.
There is a high probability that PCMax came together with a number of other potentially unwanted programs. In most cases, these apps do three things: deliver intrusive advertisements (adware); modify web browser options (browser hijackers), and; record user-system information (many types). These applications are useless for regular users and should be uninstalled.
|Name||PCMax potentially unwanted program|
|Threat Type||PUP (potentially unwanted program), PUA (potentially unwanted application)|
|Symptoms||A program that you don't recall installing suddenly appeared on your computer. New application is performing computer scans and displays warning messages about found issues. Asks for payment in order to eliminate the supposedly found errors.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Monetary loss (unnecessary purchase of fake software), unwanted warning pop-ups, slow computer performance.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
There are dozens of potentially unwanted programs similar to PCMax. For example, System Keeper, Advanced PC Care, SpeedUpPC 2018, and many others. By offering various 'useful features', PUPs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users to install.
In fact, all PUPs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than enabling the functions promised, PUPs deliver intrusive advertisements ("Pay Per Click" advertising model), cause unwanted redirects (thereby promoting rogue apps), gather sensitive information, and, in this case, promote in-app purchases.
How did PCMax install on my computer?
This potentially unwanted program has an official download website. Despite this, it often infiltrates systems without permission, since developers proliferate it using "bundling" and intrusive advertising models. "Bundling" is stealth installation of PUPs together with regular software.
Developers hide them within "Custom/Advanced" settings or other sections of the download/installation processes, whilst intrusive ads redirect users to malicious sites and execute scripts designed to download and install malware/PUPs. Many users rush download/installation procedures and skip steps.
In addition, they often click various intrusive advertisements. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs such as PCMax.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software.
Criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design, thereby making them seem legitimate, however, they can be identified since they lead to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other similar suspicious sites. As previously mentioned, intrusive ads are often delivered by adware-type PUPs.
Therefore, in the case of suspicious redirects, uninstall all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Remember also to carefully analyze each window of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.
We also recommend that you download/install your applications from official sources only, using direct download links, since third party downloaders/installers are often monetized by promoting PUPs (the "bundling" method). Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount.
PCMax PUP installation setup:
Screenshots of different PCMax PUP variants:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is PCMax?
- STEP 1. Uninstall PCMax application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove rogue extensions from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove deceptive plug-ins from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove malicious add-ons from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
PCMax PUP removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for "PCMax", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program that causes PCMax ads, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
At time of research, PCMax did not install its browser plug-ins on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, however, it was bundled with other adware. Therefore, you are advised to remove all potentially unwanted browser add-ons from your Internet browsers.
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pcmax potentially unwanted program, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pcmax potentially unwanted program, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with pcmax potentially unwanted program removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pcmax potentially unwanted program, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
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